It’s 2012 and the world is undergoing major economic upheaval. In pretty much every major country the buzzword is ‘cuts’. Cuts to staff, cuts to expenditure and cuts to investment. Although governments are talking about long-term plans, most actions seem very short-termist, and it’s therefore not a very good time for green initiatives, most of which will take time and need investment. This is all meant to save money, but it’s definitely putting a stop to saving the planet!
And, from a CO2 reduction point of view, I think they’ve got it wrong in so many ways. I realise you probably need financial training to work it out, but it seems to me that governments are putting their own welfare over that of the people. Throughout the 4 years that I’ve been writing this blog (ok, not so often recently…), I have focused on one message above all others: the measures you take to reduce emissions can also save you money.
Instead of reducing investment in green initiatives, governments - and especially the UK government should be pushing them forwards and helping individuals, companies, even their own institutions reduce their costs. Here are some examples:
- A greater push and tighter regulations on company emissions. Greater awareness on electricity consumption alone could reduce electricity bills hugely across the country.
- Backing off from cutting the feed-in tariff. I know the government has just suffered a defeat on this, but they really need to rethink and maintain the higher rate for now. A huge opportunity exists here to help whole communities save money by installing solar panels.
- Tightening vehicle emissions rules still further and even considering subsidising the development of EVs. It’s a no-brainer. Let’s make our cars more efficient and stop this bank-breaking dependency on petrol.
- Encouraging other forms of green transport. How’s about giving tax breaks to people who cycle? Or allowing them to claim expenses to maintain their bikes? How’s about making the ‘Cycle to work’ scheme obligatory in every company over a certain size? Millions have already flocked to two wheels (me included) but more would follow if given a little push in the right direction.
I know that there are some initiatives coming up that use this kind of thinking, including an loan scheme to help home owners invest in green energy, but more could and should be done.
There, rant over for today. But I think I’m going to keep on at this one.